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Mar. Grayson Family Dinner

The next installment of the Grayson Family Dinner is scheduled for March 15th! Grayson family members are of course welcome, as are any vassals or anyone somehow connected to the family. It's just a way for everyone to all get in the same room and catch each other up on what's going on. Attendance is not required, but strongly encouraged and light guilt trips may be arranged for those who can't make it because family comes first, right? None Greater Than Grayson At Attending Family Gatherings!

Date

March 15, 2020, 7 p.m.

Hosted By

Sabella

Participants

Wash Liara Lark Roxana Lou Niklas Zoey

Organizations

Grayson

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Dining Room

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Wash enteres the Grayson family dinner first, taking a seat at the table and waiting for the festivities to commence.

Ippolito, a highly trained personal guard arrives, following Roxana.

12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Liara shows up to the dining room, a bit late, and offers a flutter of a wave to people already about as she heads over to find herself a seat. "Hello, hello. Goodness, it's nice to have something so normal as one of these gatherings. How is everyone?"

Lark sweep gracefully in to the dining room, a soft smile adorning her features. Princess Lark makes her way to the dining table and takes her place. "Good evening." while offering a polite include of her head to the general room.

Wash has been here awhile, socializing with some of the older staff that he remembers. "I'm great." He says with aplomb. "Lou asked me specifically to come to this, and then she doesn't even show."

"Perhaps to chat about boats and faraway islands?" Liara supposes to Wash. She flashes Lark a smile, noting, "I hear Duchess Lisebet has a very promising scheme under way - do let me know if you need anything to help that along."

Liara has joined the Dining Table.

Roxana arrives drenched in color, her brocade gown suited to cold weather but also designed to turn heads, as ever. "Hello dear family, its so good to see you. I expected more people, but quiet is nice as well. I'm afraid I don't have as long to linger as I would like, there are some finalization to work I'm doing for the family required within the next few hours, but I thought a break for a bite to eat would be wise."

Roxana has joined the Dining Table.

Lark has joined the Dining Table.

Willen arrives, following Lou.

Lark smiles at Liara, "I've been meaning to catch the Duchess - it seems our schedule clashes somewhat but I'm sure we'll get there." before turning to take a glass of wine from a server behind her.

"Anyway, both islands seem like they have interesting possibilities, but I don't know that I'm too, too interested in going to the Isle of Echoes," Lou is speaking to Willen, her trusty senior archivist at the Explorers, as she walks into the Grayson dining room. In fact, she even shudders a bit when she mentions the Isle of Echoes."

Wash roxama

Let it not be said that Princess Roxy is too savvy to take bait because she is not. "What is the Isle of Echoes." She immediately asks Lou, once the other princess and explorer extraordinaire has had the chance to finish speaking to her archivist, and Roxana judges it a nice time to but in.

Overhearing Lou, Liara looks up from the table - she's only just sat down, herself - and mentions, "Legate Ailith wrote to me to offer aid regarding those islands - or any route to Eurus. I imagine she's been in touch with you, though if not, I can direct her your way." She gives a quick nod in understanding to Lark.

Lou glances up as she hears Roxana's question, then gives her cousin and the others a warm smile. She waves over at Wash. She lifts a brow at Liara, addressing her first. "She has not yet reached out to me, so if you could to that it would be appreciated. I know she heard about the islands through the Scholars, as they have been helping with this project, as well as the Explorers. There are a fair few people who are interested in exploring them." More, perhaps, than Lou expected from her somewhat harried expression. She then looks to Roxana. "The Isle of Echoes is one of two islands that were once stops on the way to Eurus that avoided traveling through exceptional dangerous waters and past a large sea creature that would typically eat boats unless appeased through human sacrifice." Well, Roxana did ask! "The other island is called Brightshore. Each bears its own challenges with regards to exploration."

"We did all tht. We won't bore you I hope." Wash answers Liara. "Though you could tell Duchess Lisebet that I am somewhat at loose ends if she has room for... the best sailor in the compact." He nods to Lou's explanation, having nothing to add.

"Brightshore sounds like a lovely name for a place. Much better than most of the Islands already in the Isles, and better than the Isle of Echoes or Storms or whatever unsettling thing some of these others are named after." Roxana comments. She has nothing of value to add to the conversation of course, but happily offers up nonsense instead, in between efforts to summon a servant forth with a glass of wine.

"I'll get in touch with her and mention you, of course," Liara replies to Lou. "I don't quite have the time to engage in the research myself, though if you fancy some help co-ordinating it all, I am entirely amenable to doing so." Then she nods to Wash. "A trip to these islands, I suppose. Something to be planned out soon - once we have a notion of what is going to happen with the Eurusi fleet."

"The Isle of Storms is actually a rather unusual island that proviedes one of the pathways of training to become either a Shaman or a Hierophant, like Pena Stomryder or Ylaria Wolfheart," Lou offers as she goes to take a seat. Willen, for his part, excuses himself, saying he's headed for the library instead. "I've had the fortune to go there, and experience the tale of how the sirens became the sirens. It. . . " she pauses, reflecting back," . . . was not the best of tales to witness and experience." She gives another shudder. "However, others have had more positive experiences there, and it is also the final resting place of one or more of the Metallic Order." Therein she gives a brief history lesson on the Isle of Storms. "There's some supposition that the Isle of Echoes might be something similar, but I don't know that I agree with that concept. You can dock at it fairly easily, but leaving is a whole other story. The place is full of ghosts, or echoes of people who've visited previously, and if you go you are confronted by every mistake, every regret, and may drown in the past, or in your fears for the future. But, if you manage to pull away from it you very well just might learn a thing or two about others, as you can experience the echoes left behind as well." She frowns, "I just don't know if it's worth getting forever lost on the island."

"Hmm." Roxana responds to Lou, and she looks thoughtful for a moment. "I suppose there are always risks, in your line of work, yes Princess Lou? You just decide which ones are the ones you chose to take at a given moment. Or somesuch." The last added in case her thoughts came out sounding anything like wisdom, to remind it is likely an accident.

Though a bit preoccupied with food by now, Liara does turn an ear to Lou, and eventually wonders, "What if one went along tied to the end of a long rope?"

Lou winces as Roxana uses the /title/, but tries to overlook it. "There are always risks," she confirms. "Brightshore isn't going to be an easy place either. There, those attempting to get onto the island may be confronted by those who want to keep them off. They are leary of people who might be tainted, and apparently you have to undergo several tests and such in order to go on the island itself, but once you are allowed, apparently they are quite the extravagant hosts. Both islands are important ports of call in the Saffron Chain to collect supplies and move on towards Eurus." She looks over at Wash, tilting her head at her Kennex cousin a moment. "Did you have a preference to which one you wanted to explore?" she asks, curious, then turns her attention to Liara as she considers her question. "I suppose that could be tried, though I suspect it might have been in the past. The bits and pieces I've talked about here at dinner are pretty much the only things we've been able to find so far on the islands." A pause, then she notes, "And if you'd be willing to help organize, I'm willing to offload that on another person's hands. Given it'll take months to get there, we'll also likely need a load of resources and supplies to find the first island."

"We can restock at either of them without exploring?" Wash asks. "If so, I'll stay with the ship. Not real keen on people arbitrarily deciding whether I am 'tainted' or not. Nor do I care much for regrets, mine or others'." He shrugs. "This is why I'm not part of the explorer's guild. I want to sail, not explore. Maybe I should start a sailor's guild. Wait... wouldn't that just be a navy?"

"Leary of people who might be tainted by what?" Roxana inquires. "I wonder what the tests are like. That sounds almost like a story from a book. I'm not an explorer, but that does sound fun, extravagant hosts and the like. Truly I never thought there was anything worth having in the Saffron Chain until House Pravus lay claim to it. Shows what I know, hmm?" Roxana takes another sip of her wine and a few bites of dinner, clearly enjoying the meal.

Lou gives a small shake of her head at Wash. "Doubtful, not at first really. We presently don't know anything current about the islands. The resource Faye and I dug up is about 200 years old. Hence why we'd like to explore them rather than simply depend on them as potential stopping points. Could be things have changed there, gotten better, or worse," she gives a small shrug of her shoulder, then grins. "But, exploration is the best part," she winks at Wash, then looks to Roxana again, shrugging a bit. "Of that, I do not know. Maybe the taint on magic?" she conjectures, "Or, maybe a moral taint. That's hard to say with this route being newly discovered and no one having come into contact with these islands for hundreds of years." A pause, then she notes. "House Pravus does not hold all of the Saffron Chain. Only parts."

"Saffron chain used to be a whole continent." Wash adds, since it came up. "It got destroyed by a God of Cataclysms some three thousand years ago."

"Have they not been given the rights to conquer the whole of it?" Roxana adds, though its truly made clear she's only tangentially following these bits of relatively important news. "I thought that was the arrangement, though clearly I could be wrong." She tilts her head at Lou, considering. There's a nod to Wash as he adds more history to the story, but its already so fantastic its hard to follow. For her at least.

"The Saffron Chain is long and varied, as Wash points out. Also, my understanding is that House Kennex owns some of it already, do they not?" Lou glances over at Wash when she makes that point, lifting her brow in a delicate manner. "And, in reality, anyone could claim any of the islands that are not already in Pravus holdings, and keep them so long as you can defend them. And, if they are inhabited by people of a peaceful nature, I see no reason we need to dominate them. We should treat them as autonomous cities and make treaties with them."

"I'll leave the actual working out how to do it to people far more knowledgeable than me," says Liara. "I'm happy to coordinate, though, if needed. I didn't realise there were quite so many people as all that looking at the matter, but if so, that is all to the good." Then she gives a tiny shrug to Roxana. "It would be a thoroughly bizarre turn of events for members of the Compact to place bars on exploratory vessels moving about."

Liara gives a mild nod to Lou. "It's my own understanding that House Kennex holds part of the Saffron Chain, too, but," and she then looks to Wash with an arch of her eyebrows.

"Ah." Roxana responds, nodding to Lou. "I suppose that is true, I just didn't know if they were promised to Pravus and if that meant...anything. Its not something I spend much time considering I do admit." She finishes whatever is left on her plate in small bites and then takes another sip of her wine.

Lark stands up from her seat, offering a polite nod to the table "Please excuse me."

Lark has left the Dining Table.

"House Kennex borders the Saffron Chain. And I am sure that Pravus would like everyone to believe that they own the entirety of it. However, as has been made abundantly clear by High Prince Victus. It is his opinion that the borders of any isle lord extend only so far as they can see from their shore. Twenty, twenty five miles if they are clever. Which I take to mean that any part of the Saffron Chain that isn't already claimed, developed or bent the knee, is fair game." Wash speaks with the confidence of a man who has already reviewed this train of thought several times. "Of course, that wouldn't stop a Pravus or member of their Fealty from starting a skirmish over what they 'thought' they'd been given by the King. So... it's not a decision to be made lightly, expanding into the Saffron Chain."

"I don't think anyone would promise Pravus a whole continents worth of islands." Lou says with a tiny smirk. "Not when there are so many other houses out there interested in them, too." She nods her head along with what Wash mentions. "Which I think is more than a fair point, because if something is too far away for you to be able to defend, anyone can come and take it."

Roxana nods. "That seems wise then." She puts down her wineglass and with an apologetic smile says, "I'm afraid I have to slip out, dear family. That work I told you was waiting for me...it still is, and I ought see to it. Thank you for lovely company at dinner, however brief. Next time I hope to stay longer."

Roxana has left the Dining Table.

Wash says, "Now. Sebastian tells me that they have repudiated several more incursions by Eurus into the Saffron chain, but that seems exaggerated to me. More likely, they scattered a merchant fleet at... al'Iskwa, or wherever and they've been mopping them up ever since."

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, 2 Grayson House Guards, Clark, an exasperated guard arrive, following Sabella.

Lou nods her head lightly at Wash. "My understanding is House Pravus lost a majority of their great fleet in their sally against the Eurus too, and that they are working to rebuild it."

Late to her own party? Surely not! Yet here comes a breathless Princess Sabella Grayson, pink cheeked and looking just a tiny bit frazzled as she hurried into the room, "Lou! Liara! Wash! My apologies! It turns out planning a trip to Sungreet takes a lot longer than one would think given the current climate!"

After polishing off the last of a main course - something saturated in gravy - Liara comments, "I would not view it as any sort of impediment to exploration, at least, especially not exploration done with the sanction and support of the Faith."

"Sebastian wasn't about to share those numbers with me, but that's what I expected, fifty percent or more in casualties. And that was not a fleet prepared for conflict. Just a merchant fleet protecting it's interests." Wash loves talking about sailing, and naval combat, and navies, and anything related to it, even distantly

Lou glances over at Sabella, giving her sister a warm smile and wave. "I do not envy you the diplomacy things you do, sister," she tells her earnestly. She looks to Liara and shakes her head. "I pretty much explore where ever. If there's something we find in someone's lands, I make sure it's turned over to them for review and potential consideration in the Explorer's museum. My flying griffon, for instance, will be on loan there once we open it." She nods to Wash, "I expected as much."

Wash raises a hand. "Hold up. Wait. Flying griffon? Tell me that's what you named your ship. YOu don't actually have a flying griffon."

Having been furnished with a cream-laden pastry, by now, Liara offers a little wave and a smile in greeting to Sabella. "We were discussing routes to Eurus. Legate Ailith wrote to offer support with searching."

Sabella too looks to Lou with interest when she says she has a griffin, "That might even get me to visit!" she says cheerfully as she starts filling her plate with lots and lots of desserts, "If anyone can find a route it's definitely Lou. And maybe Laric."

Lou grins a big wide grin at Wash. "I have a flying griffon!" she pulls off her backpack and digs inside. She very delicately pulls out an oil cloth with something wrapped up in it. As she unwraps it, a tiny brass griffin, with feathers on its wings of many different colors. But, it's not just a brass griffon. It's far more; the tiny joints in the wings and legs, the key on its back. This is no sculpture, but tiny and intricate clockwork. She looks over at Wash with a wide grin on her face as she gives the key one turn, then two, then lets it go.

The little griffon stretches out as if awakening from a nap. Once placed on the table, it turns its head this way and that, as if looking at its surroundings, and then marches in a proud little circle once. But just when it looks like that might be all it does, it stretches those metal wings, flaps them twice... and takes flight. The little shining griffon circles the group once. Twice. A third time... then it lands, folds its wings, glances about once more, yawns, and settles back into its seated resting position before going motionless once more.

Lou adds to Wash. "I found it, exploring Whitepeak."

Wash says, "Holy shit! You have a flying griffon! Now I've seen everything. You know, I had a theory that the dragon boat Cadern flew around in was really just Brass, the dragon. But... this changes that. This changes everything. Let's go to whitepeak and find a flying boat!" Wash says with delight. "Cadern must have left it somewhere.""

Liara leaves her pastry well alone for a few moments, spoon set aside, to watch the mechanical griffin with obvious fascination, turning in her seat as it lifts off the table to take flight. Eventually, she just murmurs, "Goodness. That's remarkable."

Sabella opens her mouth to take a bite of a cupcake except the cupcake never makes it and she stares agape at first at the little clockwork then brightens with absolute delight! "Oh my! How extraordinary! How does it do it?! Do you know?" she watched it a moment more then says, "...don't ever let Relara near it."

Lou laughs out loud now at Wash. "So, you see, exploring isn't always all danger and such, sometimes you find /good/ things too," she winks at him, and then very gently puts the flying contraption away in its oil cloth oncemore. She looks to Sabella, shrugging her shoulders a bit. "I've only helped make a clockwork device once, with Hana Grayhope. It was a tiny bird, that when it walked across a specific map, showed us the path to find the dwarves that were frozen in time Icefall. We managed to free the dwarves, and they are now alive and well, and were working on returning to the rest of their kind when we left them. That was about a year or more ago. I'll be taking a team, sometime soon, to go talk to the larger group since I'm one of a handful left who knows how to find them again." She glances down at the object. "But the griffon, I'm fairly certain was made by Brass and it likely, partly uses magic in some way, either that or he's figured out how to get metal bits to fly mechanically on their own."

"Oh I didn't say I hated exploring. I like getting stuff!" He pats his cutlass. "Worth almost dying for."

Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise arrives, following Niklas.

Niklas wanders in, looking tired and miserable, as has been his way as of late. "Sabella, Clark is having a disagreement with a couple of Templars that will be assigned to us while we're in Sungreet. You should probably go see to that." He looks around and waves to the few others in the room. "Liara. Lou. Good to see you both. Washburn! I just came here from the Kay. No Kennexes at the Kennex drinking event. Don't worry. I unlocked the drinks cabinet and just let everyone go crazy."

"It's truly fantastic, Lou," Sabella says, still sounding a bit awestruck. When Niklas comes in she sets her cupcake down and gives him a nod. Is it perhaps a little curt? Maybe! She does give him a kiss on the cheek as she passes, "Make sure you have everyone play the game if they haven't yet, my love," and then she's on her way out!

"That sounds like a sound plan Prince Nik." Wash replies to Niklas. "If you're trying to drive Catalana crazy." Wash is either undisturbed or completely disbeliebing of Niklas' claims.

"Is it an especially big drinks cabinet?" Liara wonders of Niklas.

A messenger comes up to Lou and momentarily distracts her. She furrows her brow and nods. "If you'll pardon me, there's something I need to go handle at the Explorer's hall."

Niklas doesn't glare as Sabella as she walks past, but her curt nod is replied to with a cool look. He looks back to the others. "It's a pretty decent sized drinks cabinet, I suppose. Zoey used to obsessively collect alcohol, but as of late she's been locking it up in her home room so only she, Ian, Uriel and Naamah can get at it. Those kids love vodka."

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Clark, an exasperated guard have been dismissed.

Liara offers a cheery little wave to the people departing, then remarks to Niklas, a bit dryly, "I am sure they only get the best of it." Attention turning to Wash, she says, "Looks like there may be a few places that need to be sailed to."

"Good thing I have more than one ship." Wash gloats. "Now, the caravel will have to go to Brightshore, obviously, it's the most likely to make it back if the journey gets rough. "I don't think you can sail to Whitepeak, alas, but I am going to scout the Saffron Chain for indications of old settlements. Particularly a kingdom that used to make war with House Marin back before the reckoning."

"We'll likely commit our caravel to going to Brightshore, too, and commission a second or third if deemed necessary. I am told that they will fare little better than our dromonds for purposes of warfare, so we shan't overdo it," Liara says. She drums her fingers briefly against the edge of the table. "I had better get together a list of people who wish to go on such an expedition, or to find out more about the place, at least. We'll have some dreadful duplication of effort, otherwise."

Niklas checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

"I was a king of House Marin in a past life," lies Niklas quite deftly. "I'll go meditate at the Shrine of the Queen of Endings and see if I can't get any more information this kingdom for you. Though I assure you, Washburn, the involvement of the sharkenoids is almost a certainty."

"Is that how House Marin came to ruin?" Wash rejoinders.

Niklas shakes his head. "I was one of the good ones. But we had a lot of marrying cousins and considered drinking saltwater a holy rite, so honestly the whole thing was going to come tumbling down sooner rather than later." Niklas moves to fill up a plate, unconcerned that his lateness means much of it will be cool.

"No one's ever told me a thing about House Marin, apart from occasional pleas for people to learn the language, and in the absence of being told, it presumably is not very important to House Grayson," supposes Liara.

"That's the Marin'alfar. Totally unrelated." Wash assures Liara.

Niklas nods to both Wash and Liara.

Niklas says in Marin'alfar, "We fucked a lot of sharkenoids."

One of the words he says is clearly 'sharkenoids', as the marin'alfar almost certainly do not have a term for it.

"Elves, either way," Liara replies to Wash. "Some day, somebody will explain the utter fascination that some have with elves." She sounds almost glum.

"I swear Niklas. Shark humans aren't any more believable in an underwater language. Besides... they should be called Shumarks. I thought of that after we parted last time. Definitely better." Wash consoles Liara. "I don't have any fascination with elves. Boring lot. Honestly. But.. House Marin was the head of the Mourning Sea houses before the Reckoning. After the Reckoning, it was Thrax. You can do your own math there."

"That's no way to speak about your great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather." Niklas shakes his head at Wash. "They call themselves the sharkenoids. Can't blame that on me. And while I know House Marin and the marin'alfar aren't related, it does seem odd that both have the same word in their name. Makes me wonder if there isn't some link there. Like with Helianthus and the rex'alfar. Also! The marin'alfar tend to be less wacky than the nox'alfar, in my experience. I honestly just don't understand why people find the nox all that fascinating, except that people are always starved for something new. The fact that they use blood magic and murder people casually just doesn't factor, I guess. It's all okay because they're /so wacky/."

"I married in." Wash points out. "We're not related that far back."

Liara peers over towards Niklas, showing no hint of recognising a darn thing beyond 'sharkenoids', then she clears her throat and replies to Wash, "Fair enough." She gives a small nod to Niklas. "My entire engagement with them has comprised passing greetings to the Queen."

Niklas shakes his head. "You're a Grayson. At one point you're related to Tyrval."

"How does that scan? Tyrval's an elf. Are you saying all Graysons descended from Tyrval? That sounds like something Tyrval would say just because we couldn't prove him wrong." Wash complains.

"It does, and I've never actually gone looking to see," Liara says to Wash, then breathes a brief sigh. More to Niklas, she says, "You know, on the matter of being a Grayson, I've felt a little lately that just being a Grayson isn't carrying /quite/ the weight that one might wish for. Something to remedy."

"You don't think elves and humans can have kids? The king has two children with Symonesse! And Fitz Morgan is half nox'alfar, too." Niklas waves a hand. "I know of a few people who are part sylv'alfar as well." Niklas shrugs. "I don't know that all Graysons are descended from Tyrval, but he and Alarice were married four hundred years ago, so if you aren't then you're going to be so many cousins removed from the king you might as well be a Beigeson."

Niklas thinks. "I suppose we could have a LOT of incorrect information and Alarice's children were sired by Caithness?"

"You could ask Tyrval," Liara says to Niklas. "I don't suppose he would like the question very much. In any case, since you mentioned it, I thoroughly disapprove of the random murder, and if it ever actually happens where the matter of judging such things falls to me, I won't accept that a person can somehow sign a contract allowing another to kill them. It's still murder."

"Certainly if it involves a Grayson," Liara adds, dourly.

Wash glances at Liara and then shrugs. "I'm not going to help you with that." Back to Niklas he contests. "How do we -know- that he was married to Alarice though? Because he said so. None of us were alive four hundred years ago, and rules of propriety don't allow us to call him a liar."

Zoey is so, so late! She manages to be composed when she enters the dining room though, and she greets those present with a smile and a dip into a practiced curtsy. "Good evening!"

"There's a lot of documentation on that one, Wash. If you want to doubt it I'd suggest you take it up with the scholars." Liara's comment gets a glum frown from Niklas. "I'm still mad about Luca. Such a stupid way to die."

"Luca was probably drunk." Wash points out. "He had that habit. And I'm not arguing that it isn't true, just that I'm not going to go around calling him daddy of any greatness."

"A member of House Grayson, all the same," Liara says. Then she brightens a bit on seeing Zoey, and offers a light smile. "How do you do? There's still some left - and plenty of dessert."

"Better already," Zoey answers approaching the table and taking a seat by Liara before helping herself to desserts first. Apologies that I could not make it sooner. I've been working on a proposal that I want to show you and a few others later." She looks to the Niklas and Wash. "Been a while, strangers," she says with a grin.

@emit "How's your drinks cabinet Zoey? Niklas may have pilfered one or two tonight in an unsupervised fashion." Wash asks.

"Sabella's got you covered, then. She sent Tyrval a mug that said 'world's best grandpa'. In a bizarre display of sentimentality he kept it and apparently uses it. Hopefully for coffee, but probably for spider dicks or blood or something." Niklas shrugs and tucks into some ham. When he sees Zoey he lifts a hand. "Zoey! Look at all the food!" Wash gets a sniff. "Not my fault you all didn't show up for your own party."

"If you like, we rather seem to have a bit of time for proposals," Liara says to Zoey. She peers over at Niklas at the mention of the mug, though evidently thinks better of commenting, instead getting a hold of a bowl with something fruity (and more cream).

Zoey laughs. "I keep the one in our suite locked," she says. "Uriel likes to open unlocked doors now, and he's not old enough to appreciate the contents therein. Whatever Nik got must have come from one of the other dozen or so cabinets around the house." She returns her attention to Liara. "Oh? You want to hear a little about it now, before I make a more formal request?"

"He isn't especially fond of vodka, then?" Liara wonders of Zoey, not especially seriously. Then she goes on with a little nod, "I would be happy to hear a little about it. I could use a few plans to consider in the coming weeks."

Niklas sits back in his seat and looks between Liara and Zoey, eyebrows rising as they speak.

Wash says, "Well, I have a proposal. I want to accurately measure the distance between Eurus and Arvum. Down to at least within a hundred miles. If I'm right. They are a lot closer than most people think." Wash explains."

"They very well could be," Zoey agrees before going on about her own project. "I have an idea for a centralized location for processing all who are newly arrived to or liberated in Arvum. A place where they can get treated for any ailments they may have upon arrival, assistance in finding a home and work, even locating relatives who have come before them, no mater where they ended up settling. Currently I'm calling this place Hospitalis, and it would function as a sort of front door for those looking to start a new life in Arvum."

Niklas raises a glass of brandy toward Liara. "It would be good for your public image and for that of the house." He knocks it back, then adds, "Not that I'm interested."

"Do you suppose it is just that the Leviathan makes it awkward?" Liara wonders of Wash. Then she turns her attention to Zoey, and remarks after a moment, "Land is abundant, even if mostly forested, and the people to work it are not. I'm sure the peerage of the Crownlands will prove quite willing to employ refugees. Princess Roxana is currently leading a project to that end. Is that the sort of thing you have in mind?"

Wash says, "Undermine Eurus by providing a place of refuge for slaves. They'll kill, steal, mutiny to get there instead of slavery." Wash muses. "It's the best form of victory in battle. One where you don't have to fight the battle.""

"I'm not familiar with Princess Roxana's project," Zoey says as a glass of wine is filled for her. "I should reach out to her and find out. If they are not exactly the same, we may be able to compliment each other in some way. It is my intention that Hospitalis would have connections in all of the lands so that we can match the needs of the kingdom with the needs of the people." She glances at Wash. "I've had a thought that refugees may come with a tail on them, so Hospitalis would need to be ready to defend both itself and those who seek refuge there. I've also considered that spies or cultists might use it to gain entry into Arvani territory, so we would have screenings for that as well." She looks at Niklas. "Are you really not? That would be such a shame."

"You can't drink it, make a play about it, or make fun of it in front of other people. Why are you suprised?" Wash asks Zoey.

"You should speak with Grandmaster Jeffeth as well, then. If this idea of yours takes off he could form a sub-order of hospitaller knights specifically to protect refugees and immigrants." Niklas finishes his brandy and goes to get another glass. "I could easily do all of those things, Wash. You lack imagination. I'm not sure why you'd be interested, unless it's all happening on a boat or you can give it its first sweet kiss as it blossoms into womanhood."

"True. I'm out." Wash says, pushing his chair away from the table.

Liara gives a small nod to Niklas, then says to Wash, "One hopes. I /really/ hope the slaves of Eurus are not kept in check by something more sinister." When she looks to Zoey again, her features shift a mite pensive. "Why all the lands? Only three great houses have called their banners to oppose the Eurusi. I absolutely favour providing refugees with gainful employment, of course, but there is plenty available among Houses Grayson, Thrax, Velenosa and their vassals."

"The service is meant to benefit all of Arvum," says Zoey. "Or at least I will offer it to all. This is not meant to be short term or focus on a single war, and to rely so heavily on only three of the five great houses when the burden can be shared just seems unfair. Though if approaching Redrain and Valardin would cost me the other three, then that is a trade I will not make." She sips her wine. "I do intend to reach out to Grandmaster Jeffeth as well. I have been working on a list of people to approach as I work on the proposal. I ras the numbers first and foremost, and it will be a costly endeavor, equal to at least as much as it would cost to build five caravels."

Wash says, "Six great houses." Wash says tiredly."

"What's that? Around a hundred and twenty five thousand dukes?" Niklas considers for a moment, looking thoughtfully at his pork haunch. "We could probably do that between the three great houses." He nods toward Wash. "Being called a great house doesn't mean you're a great house. Pravus needs to learn to participate or else they might as well just call themselves the Dark and Mysterious and Sexy and Not At All Trying Too Hard Kingdom of Setara and get it the fuck over with." He looks over to Liara, "Hey, 'Minister of Coin' is boring. Pravus has those titles figured out. Calling the minister of agriculture the Ebon Death Scorpion of Setarco and all that. Can I be the, uh, Teal Hedgehog of Bastion? I'm certainly enough of a prick."

Niklas adds, "That estimation puts your poject as costing just about twice as much as the Great Road, mind."

Wash cracks first, laughing at Niklas calling himself a prick. "I wanna... I wanna be the pink dolphin of Thrax... because I'm always..." But the laughter bubbles up again. "Hedgehogs are prickly."

"I could fund that near immediately," observes Liara, "although the resources we retain as a reserve are meant for House Grayson and the Crownlands, first and foremost. Of course, matters such as your project pertaining to stopping the Eurusi fleet warranted a contribution. If a formal proposal is laid out, I can consider it more fully. I do not wish to sound especially negative, my lady. I am ordinarily enthusiastic about all manner of charity. I am less enthusiastic about the disjointed response of the Compact to the Eurusi invasion, and it is colouring my view on these matters somewhat." She reaches for (another) dish with a bit of pastry set out in it, before glancing between Wash and Niklas, breathing a low chuckle at the latter. "And I am acutely aware of the difficulties arising from not participating or engaging with other Houses."

Zoey grins at the men at the table. "I'm making a note to ask Aethan about a new title," she tells them. To Liara she nods. "Of course. I would assume no less. From your house or the others. And I can also understand being somewhat less enthused where certain other houses are concerned."

Wash says, "Athaen's title could be the Hard Stick."

"I don't really know any members of House Pravus, much less their titles," admits Liara. "Sebastian Pravus was decent about attending parties, and I met a Bridget Pravus once. Presumably their titles are some manner of tradition. Similarly, I have such traditions as 'Minister of Income'." Back to Zoey, she says, "I'm quite happy to review any proposal, all the same, and really, besides my concerns, it shall become a matter for the relevant ministers."

Liara suggests to Niklas, "I've seen a few people with a bit of jewelry with the first letter of their name on it. Perhaps you could get a teal hedgehog one?"

Niklas sniffs. "You could always consult the crown. See what the queen has to say." To Liara he says, "Oh, I got drunk and got a full set of armor. Dark orange and covered with teal hedgehogs. So at this point I just need it to be a thing."

Wash says, "Is that what you spent half a million silver on?"

"On my list," Zoey confirms to Niklas. "Well, the Crown anyway, maybe not the Queen precisely." She stops talking and takes a bit of pastry.

"Is this what you are taking to Sungreet?" Liara asks Niklas.

"The Queen is the one making all the decisions these days." Niklas nods to both Wash and Liara. "Indeed. I bought it because of the crusade and the work Aindre and I are doing in the Gray Forest. And also because it was three days into Porter's birthday party and I forgot my own name."

"Hell of a birthday party. Say. If you get one with badgers on it, make it in my size. Color it however you like. I'll wear it proudly next to your hedgehog mail." Wash tells Niklas. "We could wear it to the Donkey Knights! Sir Badger and Sir Hedgehog versus Sir Ham!"

"Oh good lord," Zoey sighs into her wine glass.

"It must have been quite a birthday party. Anyway, I think I am going to end up eating altogether too much dessert if I stay, so I might just withdraw for now. Lovely to chat." Liara offers a quick smile to those about, and gathers herself to her feet.

Liara has left the Dining Table.

Niklas waves to Liara as she leaves and then says, "I think she's leaving so she doesn't have to pretend like she can't hear me start suggesting that the queen to whom I'm referring is Dame Eleanor, not Symonesse. Then she'd have to reprimand me or something." Niklas eyes Wash. "Get Zoey to give you a loan. If I dig up another half million silver I'll start looking to buy more steelsilk, since those leather greaves don't do my legs any favors." He sighs. "Is it too much to ask for armor that looks as sophisticated as the famous playwright to wears it?"

Wash says, "Yes. Probably too much to ask. But... that's because they don't make baby onesies out of armor." Wash quips."

Zoey shakes her head. "I don't think Aethen would let me keep my position if I approved something so frivolous as that," she tells Niklas. "At least not right now. Gove us a few more months as we'll see how much we grow."

Niklas considers Wash. "What's the armor you wear now made of? And do you have any moral opposition to Cardian snakeskin?"

"Since my suspicion right now is that Cardian snakeskin is made from sentient beings... yeah. I'm not going to go there. Going to make some oakhide boots though. That's good enoug for me." Wash explains.

"I still want to make another run at the Uannan language," Zoey comments after Wash's statement. "Just in case that is what they speak."

Wash nods to Zoey. "You know what I'm about."

"Really? Goodness. Well, I'm not paying for oakhide, so we're back to you taking out a loan from Zoey, I guess. Maybe wait to see if ironwool pans out." Niklas sits back and games on a turkey leg. "If it is made from former slaves then good on them for keeping so fit. They really compliment my svelte figure."

"On that note, I should probably best get home and finish that proposal," Zoey says, leaving behind an empty wine glass and half a pastry when she stands. "Until magic is returned to the world and I can get my work to do itself." She smiles.

Wash says, "Ironwool sounds terrible. The worst aspects of metal and cloth." Wash stands up. "Cardian snake skin is the same price as oakhide last I check. I'll get it together in my own time." He offers his elbow to Zoey. "Shall we?""

Niklas snorts. "Snakeskin costs a third of what Oakhide goes for." He raises a hand as they get up to go. "Good evening to you both, then."

Wash hmphs. "Well... it's still too expensive."

Wash says, "Night Nik. Sleep good."

Jayne, Burly Sailor, Zoey leave, following Wash.

Niklas slumps in his seat, getting increasingly grumpy looking as he drinks more brandy. Eventually he looks up and spies the Greatest Painting in the World and immediately bursts into tears. "Fucking Luca." He flings his half-full glass of brandy at it, but due to a combination of drunkenness and lack of hand eye coordination he misses entirely and instead splatters a painting of Barric. "Oof. Shit." That done he glances around and quietly sneaks out. Loudly sneaks out. Stumbles out and falls asleep in the hall.

Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise leaves, following Niklas.



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